Breakfast Biceps

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: March 2019
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Health-minded Valley chefs turn the humble pancake into a delicious protein-delivery system.

photo by Angelina AragonU.S. Egg
Six Valley locations
Protein pancakes defy logic. How can you combine a belly bomb breakfast favorite with something that’s good for you? The folks at U.S. Egg untangled the riddle more than 32 years ago and have been flipping high-protein flapjacks ever since. “We’re the home of the original protein pancake,” chef Mario Gebran claims. Made with whole wheat flour, egg whites and sugar, U.S. Egg’s plate-size protein pancakes ($11.99 for two; $6.99 for one, pictured) are packed with egg-based protein powder, house-made granola bound with egg whites (more protein), slivered almonds and cinnamon, and then studded with juicy Maine blueberries. Slathered with butter and drenched in syrup, these crunchy, protein-laden beauties will take you all the way to dinner.

Daily Dose
4020 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
1928 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix
Fruit lovers will swoon over Daily Dose’s hearty mixed-berry and protein pancakes ($10.75 for three; $3.75 for one). After ladling Frisbee-size circles of honey wheat batter on the griddle, the cooks line the bubbling cakes with a bounty of bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, says chef/owner Matthew Long. When the golden-brown pancakes are almost done cooking, the kitchen staff sprinkles a protein mix on top, made from finely ground flax seeds (loaded with protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids), gingersnap granola and toasted almonds. Each forkful of warm fruit speckled with bits of crispy protein mix is soul-satisfying comfort food at its best. Whipped butter and extra ramekins of syrup? Bring it on.

Three Valley locations
Eggstasy takes a different approach with its joe p’s protein cakes ($12.95), found under the menu’s “healthy habits” heading. Eschewing flour, granola, nuts and protein powder, owner Peter Verros makes his batter by blending cottage cheese, egg whites, raw oats, vanilla, bananas and a touch of cinnamon. “They’re made with pure protein from the ingredients... it’s like eating a 6- or 8-ounce steak,” he says. Verros griddles the hot cakes on the flattop without oil and serves them sans butter and powdered sugar. After plating the oversize cakes, he scatters fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries across the top and provides syrup for those who need a sweet fix. And if you have a hankering for sweet protein, Eggstasy also dishes up chocolate-covered bacon. Look out, bench press.

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